Israel

Suspected Syrian Chemical Weapons Facility Targeted by Overnight Airstrikes

A suspected Syrian chemical weapons research facility was hit overnight by airstrikes the BBC reported Wednesday.

According to Syrian media, the country’s air defenses shot down some of the missiles, which were believed to have been fired by Israeli warplanes operating in Lebanese airspace. However, an arms depot at the facility was reportedly hit.

While Israel didn’t comment on the airstrikes, in December 2016, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman acknowledged that Israel had carried out airstrikes against Syrian targets to prevent Hezbollah from acquiring “advanced weapons, military equipment and weapons of mass destruction.”

Israel has said that it has “red lines” in Syria, including not allowing Hezbollah to acquire “game-changing” weapons and not allowing Iran to establish launching pads on Syrian Golan Heights.

The facility that was targeted overnight located in Jamraya is called Scientific Studies and Research Centre (SSRC). Last year, a Western intelligence agency told the BBC that at three locations of the SSRC, including the one at Jamarya, the regime continues to produce chemical weapons in defiance of the 2013 deal which required Syria to rid itself of all chemical weapons.

The Jerusalem Post this week reported that parts sold by a Germany company to Iran were found in rockets used in chemical weapons attacks carried out by the Assad regime last year.

According to experts, Iran was crucial in helping Syria develop its chemical weapons program. In June 2016, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad reportedly visited an Iranian-run chemical weapons and missile production facility.

[Photo: U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv / Flickr]